Yeats once described poetry as countless unseen hours in an effort to create something that appears effortless…
“A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.”
Dare I say farming is the same way? When a farmer markets their product the image they put forth is always ideal: red barns, hay fields, old wooden cider presses, and cows dotting a hillside. Just look on the package of any food product and you will see exactly that. But the fact of the matter- and I know everyone knows this deep inside- is that farming is grueling, angry, dirty and disparaging work. It’s a constant outpouring of physical and psychological energy.
I was thinking this because when people look at my life they imagine I have the best of both worlds. I live/work on a beautiful farm and I must be making a decent living… 15$ a bottle, 550 gallons, that’s like $40,000. But ignoring, of course, the taxes, wholesale, overhead and all the other costs that reduce the income by two thirds (actually even more), what people don’t see is the 15 hour days, day after day, frantically working to wrap-up a task just to start on the next 'urgent job' from a queue of never ending urgent jobs.
But like all farm products, if it doesn’t appear a simple creation of nature, our pain and struggle will be for naught.